How Technology is Changing Our Faith & Worship: Whether We Know it Or Not

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So many churches today are feeling the pressure to become "relevant" and "hip" and use as much technology as possible in the midst of worship. We will discuss reasons why you should and shouldn't use new forms of media in your church's worship. We'll also look at the ways in which the technology of our times can actually not only change the practices of our churches, but our theology as well - and whether that's a good thing or not. Finally, we'll look at some examples of practical ways that you can faithfully use technology in your worship gatherings.

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How Technology is Changing Our Faith & Worship: Whether We Know it Or Not

  1. 1. How Technology is Changing our Faith & Worship:Whether you Know it or NotAdam Walker CleavelandA Byte of the Future: A Conference on Using Technology in Worshipand EducationUnion Presbyterian SeminaryOctober 18-20, 2011
  2. 2. Frontline’s Digital Nation
  3. 3. Overview of our time together• Sharing Experiences of Good (and bad) Use of Technology in Worship• What are the Precedents and Reasons for Using Technology in Worship• Theological Foundations for the Use of Technology in Worship• Practical Suggestions: How We Can Do It• Q&R
  4. 4. Group Activity #1• What’s worked really well?• What has absolutely flopped?• What are our hopes for using technology in worship?
  5. 5. Technology allows for the possibility of...• Creativity• Collaboration• Connection
  6. 6. Creativity...• Everyone is an artist, an author, a musician, a videographer, a movie maker, a photographer• Amateurs become professionals• Professional use the same tools as amateurs - flattening of our world. e.g. The world of photography: iPhoneography• Bloggers are getting picked up by CNN, Huffington Post, etc.
  7. 7. Collaboration...• Wikipedia and other websites have now allowed us to become used to the ability to collaborate with others, to edit things• Things are BETTER when we work together• The end product is actually more accurate• Landon Whitsitt’s “Open Source Church”• Open source preaching
  8. 8. Connection...• Social networks• New communities are formed• Deeper connection are made within already existing communities• Connection with the world - we know what’s happening with elections in Iran, tsunamis in Japan IMMEDIATELY• We are more aware of one another, called ambient awareness
  9. 9. Ambient Awareness"They call it “ambient awareness.” It is, they say, very much like being physicallynear someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does —body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye. This isthe paradox of ambient awareness. Each little update — each individual bit ofsocial information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. Buttaken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisinglysophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousandsof dots making a pointillist painting. This was never before possible, because inthe real world, no friend would bother to call you up and detail the sandwichesshe was eating." (source link)
  10. 10. Web 1.0 & Web 2.0: What’s the difference?• Static content • Dynamically generated content• Enhancing knowledge • Enhancing creativity• Information download • Information sharing• Little to no interaction • Collaboration• Users are passive recipients of • Users are required to engage information with information, create it• FINDING & RECEIVING • CREATING & SHARING
  11. 11. Group Activity #2• from the Preface to the Directory for Worship This directory suggests possibilities for worship, invites development in worship, and encourages continuing reform of worship.• Isn’t that exciting?• Split up in groups and look at various citations from the Directory for Worship• What about these citations gives us the freedom and the precedents for using technology in worship?• What about these citations could speak to our conversation today?
  12. 12. Reasons for using Technology in Worship...• Time to do some brainstorming..•
  13. 13. Reasons for using Technology in Worship...• Time to do some brainstorming..•
  14. 14. Lest we forget...• Every one of us uses technology for worship each week!• Printed word, hymnals, pew Bibles, bulletins, printers & copiers to make bulletins, sound equipment, microphones, instruments
  15. 15. It’s just the new stuff that gets us...• There is some fear around new technology...• So what do we do with a new generation of people, a generation of digital natives, who are growing up with these digital forms of technology and new media - they are incorporated into every aspect of their lives from home, to school, to casual entertainment...and yet, they come to church and more often than not, the church refuses to use these new technologies...or refuses to even acknowledge them.
  16. 16. 10 minute break
  17. 17. TheologicalFoundations...• Kenda Creasy Dean• Before we talk about ways that we can use technology in worship, we need to be asking what the theological foundations are for our uses of technology in worship
  18. 18. Group Activity #3• Is it theologically sound to use technology in worship?• What theological doctrines might we draw from in thinking about using technology in worship?
  19. 19. The Church & Technology
  20. 20. Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)
  21. 21. Marshall McLuhan Quotes• “Our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how they are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot. For the content of any medium is the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watch dog of the mind.”• “The content or message of any particular medium has about as much importance as the stenciling on the case of an atomic bomb.”
  22. 22. The Medium IS the Message• What are the theological implications of these quotes when we think about preaching and music in worship? What are the medium’s messages? • Preaching: traditional format vs technology-infused preaching? • Music in Worship: pianos, organs & choral music vs the iBand?
  23. 23. North Point’s iBand
  24. 24. The Medium IS the Message• What are the theological implications of these quotes when we think about preaching and music in worship? What are the medium’s messages? • Preaching: traditional format vs technology-infused preaching? • Music in Worship: pianos, organs & choral music vs the iBand?
  25. 25. How Can We Use Technology• Context, Context, Context (it applies here too)• Should you use robust technology with an older congregation?
  26. 26. Technology for Stewardship & Sustainability• $1.3 billion raised last year through online giving • It’s the fastest growing channel of giving for non-profits• http://churchtechtoday.com/2011/09/19/online-giving-charitable-giving-skyrocks/
  27. 27. Technology for Worship...• NPR Prayers as Prayers of the People• Prayers of the Tweeple (e.g. College Conference at Montreat)• Texting during a sermon for immediate response• Different ways to engage more senses (visuals)• Immediate responses to polls or questions, websites offer services that allow you to moderate them before responses go live on screens• Screens & images in worship• Simple image or photograph on a bulletin cover (creates shared experience)• Videos for worship loops, backgrounds, conversation starters http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/• Darkwood Brew (Eric Elnes) • Skype interviews with theologians, authors, interactive media for those present and those watching online
  28. 28. Technology for Worship...
  29. 29. First Presbyterian Church of Second Life• Welcome! 1st Presbyterian Church of Second Life is a group of Presbyterians meeting in the virtual reality world of Second Life, exploring ministry that is uniquely Presbyterian, but also unique to the culture and nature of Second Life. We currently meet for conversation & prayer, but aspire to eventually incorporate service, evangelism, education, and worship into our activities.
  30. 30. Questions & Responses
  31. 31. NPR Prayers
  32. 32. Sources• New York Times article: “I’m So Totally, Digitally, Close to You” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/magazine/07awareness-t.html• Frontline’s “Digital Nation” http://video.pbs.org/video/140• Shane Hipps & “The Hidden Power” http://shanehipps.com/films/the-hidden-power/• North Point’s iBand http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9XNfWNooz4• NPR Prayers idea borrowed from Rev. Adam Copeland http://www.adamjcopeland.com/• First Presbyterian Church of Second Life http://www.1pcsl.org/HOME
  33. 33. How Technology is Changing our Faith & Worship:Whether you Know it or NotConnect with me here:Email: cleave@gmail.comFacebook: facebook.com/adamwcTwitter: @adamwcWeb: www.adamwc.comSlides available here: www.slideshare.net/adamwc

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